“Museum of Meenakari Heritage” a new jewelry museum opens in Jaipur

If you are fond of witnessing history, art, and heritage, the recently opened ‘Museum of Meenakari Heritage’ is the place you must pay a visit to.


Since museums have always been known to traditionally focus on preserving history, including both battles and products, Jaipur has always been a city thriving with history, design, art and culture. In a city like Jaipur full of history and heritage, museums have a different take on society, setting apart their focus on the resurgence of gems and stones. The modern-day custodians of the heritage of the city are doing their best to revive that long-lost lineage through highlighting them in the museums. The latest specimen of such an act is the newly launched Museum of Meenakari Heritage in Jaipur. 

Museum of Meenakari Heritage 

Sprawled over 2,200 sq ft, the gallery is a large space located near the Parkota gates in Jaipur (also known as the Pink City). It’s part of the new flagship building of Shekhawati Haveli, which also houses Sunita Shekhawat’s design studio in the basement. 

To further highlight Rajasthan’s role in meenakari, the museum itself, housed within the Shekhawat Haveli, is built entirely with local materials. From the flooring (terrazzo) and wooden beams to the facade’s stonework, everything comes from Rajasthan

The museum uses a variety of exhibits, including over 300 photos, replicas, and modern pieces, to tell the story of meenakari. These items were gathered from around the world, including 15 premier museums, private collections, art galleries and auction houses. 

The museum also features over 120 reproductions of historical meenakari artifacts, created by the House of Shekhawat. These replicas help preserve traditional designs, styles, and stories passed down through generations.

In addition, the museum showcases the different enameling techniques used throughout history. Visitors can see examples of cloisonné, champlevé, plique-à-jour, and basse-taille through 60 original pieces designed by Sunita Shekhawat herself.

The museum offers fascinating insights into meenakari, including regional variations across India, how art movements influenced jewelry design, and the unique Indian tradition of creating intricate backs for the pieces.

The makers of the Museum of Meenakari

The Museum of Meenakari Heritage was funded by jeweler Sunita Shekhawat. Dr. Usha R. Balakrishnan, a renowned jewelry historian, curated the collection, while Siddhartha Das Studio designed the space and Studio Lotus built it. This museum has been built with an aim of preserving the traditional enameling legacy of Jaipur. 

Sunita Shekhawat has earned the moniker “the modern meenakar” for her innovative jewelry designs, using unusual colors beyond the typical enameling palette and reversible pieces. It was her long-time dream to open such a museum to raise awareness about meenakari, a traditional craft and to honor the talent of the artisans who create it. 

What visitors can expect in the future!

The Museum of Meenakari Heritage further looks towards enhancing the visitor experience. Here are some things they’re planning to add in the future:

  • Audio guides to provide narration and information during your visit.
  • Live demonstrations of enameling, allowing you to see the craft in action.
  • Special tours of Sunita Shekhawat’s design studio (atelier) for a more in-depth look at the creative process.

Facts about the Meenakari Museum

The Museum of Meenakari Heritage takes visitors on a journey through the history of enameling. It originated in Renaissance Europe and arrived in India by way of Goa in the 16th century. From there, the craft spread to other parts of the country, including Hyderabad, Lucknow, Agra, Delhi, and Lahore. However, it was Sawai Man Singh I who brought meenakari from the Mughal courts to Jaipur, solidifying the city’s position as a major center for this beautiful art form.

The museum showcases a collection that includes pieces from world-renowned galleries like the British Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Al-Thani Collection, the Aga Khan Museum, the Hermitage Museum, Sotheby’s auction house, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston.

The world of meenakari has its own unique way of describing colors, drawing inspiration from various languages. Instead of just saying “blue,” they use terms like “lapis lazuli,” a vibrant blue gemstone. Similarly, red becomes “pigeon blood,” a deep, rich shade. Greens are described as the translucent green of a parrot’s feathers or the leaves of the kachnar tree. Yellow takes on the sunny hue of a mimosa flower, while teal evokes the shimmering colors of a peacock’s neck.

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